02 December 2020

8 Best Outdoor Meeting Venues in Norfolk, VA

Norfolk’s outdoor venues have always been a part of our city’s appeal, but now more than ever, these venues hold a greater importance with their open decks and space. With extended summers and shortened winters, our mild climate makes Norfolk the ideal event location for the majority of the year. From Battleships to zoos, Norfolk has the best and most unique venues to host your next event!


Grain, Norfolk’s most popular rooftop bar, offers both city and river views from their two balconies. The city side has breathtaking scenery of the high-rises in downtown with unmatched sightlines to the majestic Battleship Wisconsin. The riverside balcony features a large fire pit and sweeping views of the Elizabeth River. Grain’s multiple event spaces are also perfect for entertaining with their large windowed garage doors opening fully allowing for the whole venue to be open air. Grain is centrally located inside the Hilton Norfolk The MAIN, and is steps away from all other downtown accommodations.

American Rover

The soundtrack to your next event could be of the American Rover’s bow smashing waves as it glides through the Elizabeth River, with a glass of wine in your hand. One of Norfolk’s most popular venues, the American Rover tall ship, offers harbor cruises and doubles as the most unique event location in the city with the stunning scenery along the Elizabeth River. With music playing in the background accompanied by appetizers and local beers, you may have the best way to network! Whether you’re planning a corporate event or promotion, the Rover staff will be there to make your event seamlessly memorable. 

The Virginia Zoo 

Choose the Virginia Zoo for your next outdoor event and you’ll be greeted by the amusing chimpanzees, quaint red pandas, and fiercely roaring tigers. Their open-air event space ranges in guest counts from 40 to 2,000, fitting any size of get together comfortably. Their 7,000-square-foot open-air pavilion with paver flooring, retractable walls, and the ability to expand events into the adjacent open field is perfect for larger parties, while the Garden Tent accommodates smaller groups (up to 100 guests) and is tucked away in the luscious Conservatory Garden. The Virginia Zoo is just a short 10-minute drive from downtown convention hotels, and with each event hosted, a portion of the funds raised will benefit their animals and conservation initiatives around the world. 

Norfolk Botanical Garden

Voluptuous shrubbery with scents of azaleas and roses will compliment your next outdoor event when held at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. It encompasses 175-acres with seven miles of paved paths along with another seven miles of trails to explore – the perfect haven for fresh air and socially distanced spaces for an event. The garden is surrounded by water on three sides and is one of the only gardens in the country that you can explore by foot, tram or boat. The Garden features wide open spaces and large grass lawns that have convenient access to the Visitor’s Center and parking area. Mayor’s Row and the NATO Vista are also ideal locations for company picnics, family reunions, or large scale tented events. 

The Battleship Wisconsin

@gdm.photography, Instagram

The Battleship Wisconsin (BB-64) is an Iowa-class battleship that was launched on December 7, 1943. During her career, the battleship served in the Pacific Theater of World War II, the Korean War, and then again to assist with Operation Desert Storm. Fully decommissioned and serving as a ship museum, she resides in downtown Norfolk next to the Nauticus Maritime Museum and is a truly magnificent experience to tour and visit. Both the Main Deck and the Fantail event spaces offer sweeping views of the skyline and the Elizabeth River and give event attendees a profound sense of the history and pride for our country. 

The Hermitage Museum and Gardens

Tucked away in the Lochhaven residential neighborhood of Norfolk is the prestigiously beautiful Hermitage Museum and Gardens. Once a private residency, this early 20th century arts and crafts estate is now a museum located on the shore of the Lafayette River. It features a nationally recognized private art collection spanning 5,000 years, contemporary exhibition galleries, a Visual Arts Studio, and 12-acres of gardens and grounds for you to host your perfect event. 

Waterside District

Waterside District is home to numerous venue options with spaces that are perfect for events from sizes of  25 to as large as 500. From a lush beer garden with comfortable and private lounge spaces that have waterfront views of the Elizabeth River to a front-row seat to 25-foot LED TVs, Waterside allows you to design the event that works best for you! Their state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities present you with endless opportunities to showcase your logo, photos, slideshows, or meeting notes. If you are also looking for a customized menu that will fit your guests’ unique culinary palate, their wonderful food and beverage team is more than willing to help facilitate this request for you. 

Harbor Park

Imagine this for your next event, a warm summer evening, the sun setting over the Elizabeth River, a classic, all-American hot dog in hand, and the Minor league baseball team, the Norfolk Tides hitting baseballs into the crowd for home runs. Harbor Park’s unique event spaces can accommodate groups as small as 30 to as large as 500. The tiered outdoor picnic areas, O’Connor Brewing Company Party Deck and two open-air patio areas are the perfect spots for entertaining your guests. Enjoy your company, cheer on the Norfolk Tides and soak up the river breeze!

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